Children and Youth Immunization Records

Vaccine preventable diseases can have severe impact - they can make even a previously healthy child very sick. Vaccines help keep all children safe, protecting their long-term health and well-being.

Requirements for children

  • Laws in Ontario

    By law in Ontario, Public Health must have an up-to-date immunization record or valid exemption on file for each child attending a licensed child care centre, licensed home child care agency Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 or school Immunization of School Pupils Act.

    These laws require reporting one's choice. One choice is to stay up to date with the recommended vaccinations and report these vaccinations to Public Health. The "Required vaccinations" chart shows which diseases your child will be protected from. The other choice is to get an exemption.

    Niagara Region Public Health is reviewing immunization records and exemptions for all school age children during the 2023-2024 school year. You will not be contacted if we have an up-to-date immunization record or valid exemption on file for your child.

    These laws are important to protect our communities from diseases.

    In the event of an outbreak, Public Health relies on complete immunization records to quickly identify who is at risk. The children will be notified and may be excluded from child care for their protection until the risk of infection is over. In Niagara, this was done in 2015 for measles and 2017 for mumps.

    Additional benefits to children and their families:

    • An up-to-date immunization record may be needed for
      • Attending summer camp
      • Travelling out of the country
      • Applying for college or university
      • Certain occupations or co-op placements
      • Receiving medical treatment
    • If you lose your child's personal immunization record (yellow card), you can request your records online using Immunization Connect
  • Checking immunization records

    You can check to see if your child has the vaccinations they need to attend child care or school by:

  • Getting vaccinated

    Your child's vaccines are based on a routine schedule starting at two months of age. When following the routine schedule, timing matters. It is designed to protect your child when they are most at risk for those diseases. A delay or gap leaves your child at high risk of infection.

    The schedule does give optimal age ranges for your child to receive a vaccine. For example, the adolescent Tdap (tetanus / diphtheria / pertussis) booster is indicated between 14 to 16 years of age.

    This means if they get their four to six year booster at four years of age, they become due for their adolescent booster 10 years later at 14 years of age. If you have any questions, contact the vaccine team.

    Learn about where to get vaccinated. If your child gets anxious or nervous about vaccination, see “Preparing your child for their vaccination”.

  • Exemption process

    The laws in Ontario require reporting one's choice. Choosing to have an exemption has implications on your child's future.

    Public Health will not contact you about missing vaccines. This means your child will not receive any vaccination reminders. If your intention is to get your child vaccinated in the future, you can:

    • Cancel the exemption, or
    • Ask your health care provider what vaccinations your child needs, or
    • Contact the Vaccine Team about a catch up schedule for missed vaccines

    Your child may miss out on child care, school or other activities.

    In the event of an outbreak, the children will be notified and may be excluded from child care for their protection until the risk of infection is over.

    Learn how to protect your unvaccinated child and how to get an exemption applied to your child's immunization record.

If you received an Order of Suspension

  • About the Order of Suspension

    Niagara Region Public Health sent an immunization notice to students with incomplete records on file in November 2023. Students who continue to have incomplete vaccination information on file will be suspended from school starting March 19, 2024, unless the missing vaccination information is reported sooner. Most health care providers do not report immunizations to Public Health.

    Review section 1(a) of the Order for Suspension from Attendance at School for the missing vaccination information.

    If the missing vaccines have been received, report this information to Public Health using Immunization Connect.

    Options to receive the missing vaccines:

    • Visit your health care provider or a walk-in clinic (call ahead to confirm vaccine availability)
    • Attend a Public Health vaccination clinic at school or in the community.

    If your child needs a medical exemption or if you are choosing philosophical or religious exemption, learn how to protect your unvaccinated child and how to get an exemption applied to your child's immunization record.

    If you have previously submitted an exemption form, the school exemption forms are applied when all the information has been received. To find out why your exemption has not been applied, call Public Health at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7425.

Preparing your child for their vaccination

  • The CARD system

    The CARD system (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) provides a group of strategies that can be used before and during vaccination to make the experience a more positive one for you and your child.

    Learn how you can play your CARDs during your child's vaccination. Help your child choose what CARDs they want to play to reduce the pain, stress, and worry about getting a needle. You can also help your child use CARD to cope with stressful situations. Help your child cope with anxiety or give them the CARD system for coping with their fears and anxiety.

  • How to talk to your child

    A parent / legal guardian's words and actions can influence how well children cope during vaccination.

    Toddlers and preschoolers may be told they will be getting a needle just before getting the vaccine. School-aged children may be told at home that they will be getting a needle. Use the CARD system to provide a more positive vaccination experience for both you and your child.

    Answer the question:

    • Why do I need a vaccine? with "To keep you and those around you healthy and safe."
    • What will happen? with "We can ask the doctor / nurse to let you know what they are doing and when."
    • How will it feel? with "You might feel a poke or a small pinch that will last a few seconds."

    After the vaccination, tell your child that they did well. Positive recognition and rewards after the procedure, such as stickers, help a child feel good about the skills they learned during the procedure.

  • If your child finds needles painful

    If your child finds needles painful, you may wish to apply a topical anesthetic before going to the clinic to numb the area. No prescription is needed.

    Topical anesthetics are available at a pharmacy. Follow the directions on the package to know where and when it should be applied. For example, 30 minutes to one hour before the scheduled appointment.

  • Fainting from needles

    Fainting is more common in those with needle fear. But not everyone who faints due to needles is afraid of them. And not everyone who is afraid of needles will faint.

    Learn about why someone faints and using muscle tension as a way to help stop fainting during needles.

  • How to hold your child

    Different comfort positions are available that help your child feel secure and stay still during vaccination.

Reporting to Public Health

Parents / legal guardians and students 16 years of age and older are responsible for reporting vaccines directly to Public Health. Health care providers do not do this for you.

To report each vaccination, you can:

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